Month: May 2012

Pretty goals make waves

So Farinos has started doing this every three or four matches:

That’s the best of a few similar recent goals from Farinos. It’s a lovely long-range blast from all of 35 yards. Reminds me of PES5’s Mathieu in his prime.

My apologies for the shaky, blurry camera in the Wide view. I was rather excited. Also, it was another one of those pesky bright sunny days outside, which always affects the film quality. Doesn’t Nature know there’s a Master League on?

It hadn’t been the greatest start to the league campaign. But then I played a cluster of matches against weaker opposition. The kind of matches that you have to really win, home or away, if you want to challenge for the title in this PES, in this Master League, on Superstar difficulty.

I played Norwich and beat them. I played Swansea and found them tougher than last season, but beat them. I played Fulham and went 1-0 down. Time was getting on. 80 minutes. It looked like the end of my little run.

Every Master League player has had the experience of going behind in a fixture they have to win. Sometimes you just capitulate and lose the match. Sometimes, though, you say out loud, as I did, “I’m NOT HAVING this“, and roll up your sleeves and force your way back into the match.

I did force my way back in. A scrambled equaliser on 85 minutes. Then, in the last minute, I put Forlan through for a 1-on-1. I tucked that ball into the net and went crazy. I was still in the hunt.

Speaking of last-minute winners, I played probably the best game of my PES2012 career against Liverpool at home. It was 2-2 in the last minute of regulation, and Liverpool were really pushing for a winner of their own and committing lots of players forward. I sent Farinos—that man again—on a run and fed him a simple ball:

Another screaming-out-loud moment there. Perhaps the most gratifying thing about that goal is how far up the field and ragged that Liverpool back line is playing. Comical defending that gifted me a winner.

I played Chelsea and beat them easily. Played Spurs and beat them, including this  across-the-keeper thumper from Forlan, again:

Goals like that have been pretty hard to come by in PES2012.

It’s been an extraordinary couple of days for goals and I’m having a fine run of form, it’s fair to say.

With the January window approaching fast, here’s the current table:

My next two league matches, which I’m off to play as soon as I finish this post, are against Newcastle and Man City. Talk about big games. My minimum requirement from them is 4 points to stay in touch. If I could get 6 points, I fancy I’ll be breathing down Arsenal’s neck.

I’m still in the FA Cup, where I most recently crushed Spurs 5-1. It included an interesting goal from Forlan. After more than 350 hours, this game still has surprises for me. Until yesterday, I had never seen this particular heading animation:

It’s a falling-backwards, cushioned header along the ground past the keeper. Maybe everyone else has seen the animation dozens of times, but this was the first time I ever have. Great stuff.

Caracciolo scored all 4 of the other goals for me in this match. He’s a genuine phenomenon of this season so far. I felt moved to check his individual match record afterwards.

12 touches, and 5 shots, all of them on-target. 4 goals. Not bad at all.

I’ve qualified from the Europa League group with lots of room to spare.

My final match here was against Steaua Bucuresti with nothing at stake for either team. Of course, it was by far my toughest game of the season so far.

Bucuresti played as if it was the Champions League final and they would all be executed afterwards if they didn’t win. They had a man sent off—another rarity—but still ground out a 1-1 draw to spoil my 100% record in the group. Buggers.

The Return of Shimizu

Season 14. Played 9 league matches. Won 5, drawn 2, lost 2. Goals for: 11. Goals against: 7. It’s just not good enough, but somehow I’m still in touch:

Not a great start to the season, but I’m still only 7 points off the leaders, and there’s a long way to go. Can’t afford to lose many more matches, though.

I also have a new Away kit, as modelled here by Ruggeri, my captain fantastic at centre-back. I’ve had (and will have) many memorable players in this Master League. Ruggeri is right up there near the top of that list.

Superstar is a great level to play PES2012 at, in my experience.

Get your gameplan wrong, commit a noob error, go 1-0 down, and you’re in serious trouble.

But get it right, and play with discipline and skill and the right tactical approach, and it can be the most rewarding football gameplay ever. PES2012 on Superstar with a mature team is better than PES5. In my opinion.

But I need to start scoring some goals again on Superstar, and fast. If I don’t, I’ll fall out of the running for the League title. I don’t want to end up in a situation where I’m permanently excluded from the top tier on Superstar. I’d (reluctantly) drop down a difficulty level to Top Player before letting that happen.

But I don’t think things will come to that. I think this is more a case of adjusting to life under a new squad management ethos.

I’ve decided to restrict my big-money buys to one or two per season (if that). Instead I’m cultivating Youth players promoted from within, or young Regens brought in from elsewhere.

Caracciolo is such a player. Promoted from my Youths several seasons ago, he’s only now getting an extended run-out in the team, playing up front alongside Forlan (another former Youth player).

Here’s a goal Caracciolo scored for me in the Europa League—I loved his leggy take-down of the ball, and then of course the finish:

(Pardon the blurry quality. It’s the time of year. The recent blazing sunshine has been shining directly into the room. If I hadn’t already used Spending warm summer days indoors as a post title, I would have used it for this post.)

That goal was against a team called Pacos de Ferreira, whose teamsheet featured a thirty-something player called … SHIMIZU. Ah, so this is where he’s ended up, all these years after I sold him way back in the day. He was no trouble at all, and still weaker than an especially weak kitten.

(Yes, it was a deliberately misleading post title today.)

After three matches in the European Masters Cup, aka the Europa League, I’m topping the group table:

I’m also still in the FA Cup. I met Everton in the first round. It was 0-0 pretty much all the way, a tight, ugly game with few clear-cut chances to either side. I won it in the last 5 minutes with a sucker-punch rebound goal scored by that man of the moment, Caracciolo. He seems always to be just there whenever a loose ball squirts across the box. Great stuff.

I don’t think my youngest young players are going to be much help for another season or two (or three).

I’m talking about Hagi and Kaka and Ribery. Even Schweinsteiger. Maybe Schweinsteiger could play when nobody else is avaiable. But those first three are all pretty weak and unformed. They need solid experience and growth before there’s any point playing them. I’d love to send them all out on loan, but there have been no takers. I’ll keep trying.

Caraccigoalo!

A new Home version of the classic 1970s CCFC kit for season 14. As modelled above by my 18-year-old Youth team prodigy, Bastian Schweinsteiger.

I also have a new (non-classic) Away kit that I’ve not actually worn in-game yet. The old brown ‘excrement’ kit has been retired. It may return in the future, who knows.

And I have switched to that yellow ball for the moment. I fancied a change from the old black-and-white one that I’d played with since the start.

It’s going to be a very intriguing next few seasons, with all of the youngsters—Schweinsteiger, Hagi, Ribery, Kaka, Rooney, Joe Hart, and Del Piero—starting to come through the ranks.

In the meantime I’ve got to make things happen with my existing veterans, who should be more than good enough to win things in this Master League.

Season 13 was a poor one by my standards. Just a few seasons ago I won the League and the Champions League together (what a season that was!).

The final tale of the tape was a sobering one. 13 league defeats. No trophies. And to compound matters, my revised Club Ranking slipped to 9th:

Interesting to see Schalke moving up there to 6th. I remember playing them in Europe a few seasons ago and they hammered me twice (that was on Professional difficulty).

I brought in no new players at all during the transfer window. I released Brolin and Ribeiro, both past their best.

Slightly inspired by real-life events, I did go after the currently 26-year-old Didier Drogba. I don’t recall ever playing with him in either PES or FIFA, down the years, so he’d bring something new. Sadly, he didn’t want to compete for places.

In this transfer market, persistence pays off eventually. I’ll keep trying and hopefully land Drogba in time for the January window.

I took to the field for my pre-season Training matches with pretty much the XI seen here on the right. That is not anything like the team I’ll be using as the season goes on. Most of the youngsters are only fit to be used as subs in real matches.

Joe Hart, Schweinsteiger, and Rooney are further along than any of them. They’re all at least halfway to being the finished articles. For all Schweinsteiger’s currently lowly OVR rating, he handles well above his stats. I cannot wait to see how he’ll turn out as a fully developed CMF.

Of course, the sooner Hagi gets up to speed the better. I miss my fix of Hagi goal specials.

I’m very concerned about Del Piero. He’s 23 years old now. I found him washed-up and abandoned in the OTHER list. Is it too late now for him to make it? He desperately needs a growth spurt, and soon. I’m going to indulge my curiosity and wait and see. I’ll keep him until he’s 30 if I have to.

Also note the appearance in defence of Cannavaro. 21 years old now. He came up from my Youths four seasons ago, and is blossoming into the player I knew he’d become. Not much height, but he’s got a lot of pace and is very nimble on the edge of the box. Age is on his side, which counts for a lot in this PES.

I’ve played the opening 8 matches. W4, L1, D3. Sitting in 4th spot, 4 points off the top of the table. I’m not scoring anything like enough goals. Just 9 scored so far (with 4 conceded).

I’m starting with Forlan and Caracciolo up front. Both were Youth team promotees from way back. Forlan has eclipsed them all, obviously, but Caracciolo is actually coming along very well.

He’s 24 years old. He’s scored 5 of my 9 league goals in season 2025-2026 so far. He’s a bit of a poacher. No shot power to speak of, really. But he always seems to be in the right place to snaffle up loose balls. He gets his fair share of headers.

I wonder if this is just a flash in the pan, or the start of something big.

I’ve found myself hollering the old PES chant of “Caraccigoalo!” whenever he scores. Quietly, of course…

Here’s a typical Caraccigoalo. This clinched a delicious 2-0 win over Spurs, who were currently the league-leaders:

Standard fare, really, but that’s what you want in this Master League: a striker who can just tuck them away like that, 20 or 30 times a season. Caracciolo at the moment reminds me, vaguely, of how van Basten used to handle at his peak. Hmmm.

I’m amazed and gratified at the emergence of Caracciolo after he spent probably 5 seasons just hanging around to no purpose. I seem to have been trying to sell him for about 3 seasons. I was on the verge of releasing him a few times, but was never quite able to bring myelf to do it. Lucky me.

Stories, eh? Master League is full of them. Caracciolo’s is just one of many.

Swansea City vs Coventry City

Here it is—a full match from the tail-end of season 13, with myself providing live commentary during play. The pre-match and post-match parts were recorded afterward.

The setup: Superstar difficulty, 10-minute match, -2 gamespeed.

The stakes: coming to the end of a poor season by my recent standards, I’m in 6th place with a couple of matches to go. I need to win to hang onto my fading hopes of reaching a miraculous late Champions League spot:

Watching somebody else play a football game can be an extremely tedious experience.

So if you just want to see the goals (and there are some in this match), watch from about 2m30s to 4m30s, and then click to the start of the second half at 12m30s (the best goal).

A word about the video: I shrank the size down pretty low to enable a quicker upload. It’s watchable full-screen, but not the best quality at that size.

I’ll be happy to answer any questions in comments. I’ll deal with one now: a Coventry accent is like a Birmingham accent in the same way that an Essex accent is like a Cockney accent. I.e., hardly at all, except to outsiders.

Another question I’ll answer now: NO, I don’t often make noises quite like the one I make after the first goal (and again, slightly, after the second). That is an embarrassment to me. Sounding like a girl, and all. I was going to dub that out and pretend ‘technical difficulties’, but I thought I’d leave it in for the lulz.

And that’s all for today. I have started season 14. I have played a nice little chunk of my opening fixtures. I’ll cover it all on Friday.

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